Weerwind: Adoption from abroad now subject to stricter conditions

The adoption of children from abroad to the Netherlands will, in the future, be possible only for children for whom suitable care genuinely cannot be provided in their country of origin. Adoption will be subject to stricter conditions. This is according to a letter sent today by Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind to the House of Representatives. This approach will give children the opportunity to grow up in a family. At the same time, the government is responding to the criticism expressed by the Joustra Commission by creating a new adoption system with additional safeguards.

Interest of the child is paramount

Minister Franc Weerwind:

‘For me, the interest of the child is always paramount. This is why I have decided to make adoption of children from abroad only possible if this will benefit the child. I am coupling this with stricter conditions in order to reduce the risk of abuses as far as possible. I realise that this is a hugely sensitive issue and that for some people this decision is not what they were hoping for. I remain in dialogue with all parties in order to develop and implement these plans in the best possible manner.’

Joustra Commission

In February 2021, adoptions from abroad were cancelled following the conclusions of the Joustra Commission, which investigated abuses that had occurred in intercountry adoptions in the past. One of these conclusions was that the current system still contains inherent vulnerabilities and hence that the risk of abuses is still present.

All parties assign the highest priority to the interest of the child, but opinions differ as to how this is best achieved. Is it in the interest of the child when the Netherlands decides to no longer participate in the system of intercountry adoption, in which abuses can occur? Or is this interest better served when a child that cannot be (properly) cared for in the country of origin can be given a safe environment in the Netherlands? After weighing up the dilemmas, perspectives and interests, the minister has decided to allow adoption from abroad only subject to strict conditions.

Stricter conditions

From now on, the government will apply stricter conditions to adoptions from abroad. Minister Weerwind has decided to cluster the placement activities into a single adoption placement organisation under stronger state authority, instead of four separate private parties. Furthermore, the cooperation with countries of origin will be ended if they are considered able to provide suitable care themselves or if they make insufficient efforts to achieve this. Supervision will be increased as well. An overview of these measures is included in the letter to the House of Representatives.

The Netherlands will offer support to help facilitate good care and accommodation for children in the countries of origin. International cooperation will be strengthened as well.

At a later date the minister will inform the House of Representatives about the further elaboration of these decisions.